2022 Clark County Fair sees successes in showmanship, music and community

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The Clark County Fair this year featured animals, entertainment and also community solidarity, fair officials said, seeing an attendance of roughly 75,000 people.

Fair week spanned from July 22 to July 29. Attendance was down from last year’s total of 83,017 attendees, according to Clark County Fair Executive Director Dean Blair, but the 2022 fair brought new additions to fair week that may be seen during future fairs.

Some people were turned away at the gates this year after a new security measure was introduced at the fair: attendees 17 years and old and younger could not enter the fair without an adult or an agricultural pass or wristband.

Several other security measures were used this year – more lighting at night, security cameras, closing the midway early and shutting down admission ticket purchases early – after a series of attacks at the fairgrounds last year carried out by a group of teenagers.

This year, six of the eight fair days went without incident, with only the first Friday and last Friday of fair week seeing altercations. No serious injuries were reported.

Blair said some kind of age restriction may be implemented in coming years, with the fair’s board making decisions in the future.

“I think we achieved our goal of quality,” he said. “And we personally believe it’s the best fair we’ve had in years.”

A different kind of energy was felt by fairgoers at the Clark County Fair this year, Blair said, as a community came together.

The weekend that introduced fair week saw tragedy outside of the fairgrounds: Clark County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matt Yates, 41, was killed on duty while responding to a call in Harmony Twp. on July 24.

That Sunday, which is typically Christian Music Sunday at the fairgrounds, roughly 1,000 people at the fairgrounds gathered to pray for the man, his family and his work family, Blair said.

On the final day of the fair, the wives of Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies organized a memorial walk in honor of Yates. A large crowd of people – family, friends, fellow law enforcement – showed up for the walk, which ended with a check of $40,000 and a plaque made especially for Yates to his family.

Money was collected through the Clark County Agricultural Society and donated by community members and organizations.

“It’s really what the fair is supposed to be about, that kind of love and support,” Blair said.

The fair is also all about the kids, Blair said. This year’s fair falls during the 120th anniversary of 4-H, the birthplace of which is in Clark County.

Fair week may have officially ended on Friday, but it continued virtually through Sunday night through the online Junior Fair sale, a new twist this year. The online sale began on Aug. 2 and went until Sunday night. People could log into the sale and support exhibitors through payments in $25 increments.

The fair was a “well-oiled machine” this year in terms of entertainment and other events scheduled throughout the week, too, Blair said.

The Golden Wedding Party, which recognizes couples celebrating 50 or more years of marriage and is organized by United Senior Services, was held in the Arts and Crafts building this year.

“We were so proud to be a part of that,” Blair said.

Music shows – from Ryan Roth as Elvis to Allison Kelly – throughout the week also drew large crowds to the entertainment tent in the evenings, and the sea lion show and walking magician were also hits.

The 2023 fair is expected to span from July 21-28, according to the Clark County Agricultural Society.

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